Farm Workers at Sakuma Farm Strike Over Wages and Treatment: Please educate yourself and consider helping.
Blogs on the Labor Dispute:
Skagit Valley Herald Articles:
STRIKE COMMITTEE PARTIAL LIST OF GRIEVANCES
Sakuma Brothers Farms set a piece rate wage at .30 cents per pound at the beginning of the blueberry harvest, pickers are struggling to make the minimum wage of $9.19 per hour at this rate in an 8 hour period. This violates Washington state minimum wage requirements. Pickers should be made whole, by being paid at least the equivalent of $9.19 an hour for their time picking berries. Some workers only earn $24 to $48 in an 8 hour period and it’s not because they are slow.
Sakuma Brothers Farms has introduced electronic scanners in place of paper tickets for documentation of pounds picked which calculates their wages. This new system hampers the picker’s ability to keep track of their production and limits their ability to dispute inaccurate entries. This violates workers’ rights to wage transparency. Pickers should be made whole by returning to paper tickets and the removal of underage youth from checker positions.
Pickers want to be treated with human dignity in the workplace and labor camps. Substandard living accommodations, unsanitary facilities, and racialized hostilities violate the migrants’ human rights. Pickers should be made whole, including but not limited to, maintenance and betterment of labor camp by Sakuma Brothers Farms and that labor camp managers cease and desist hostility and harassment as required by law.
Pickers have been denied sick leave. This violates workers human rights. Pickers should be made whole, including but not limited to, supervisors cease and desist the practice of knocking on the door of sick workers to force them to work.
Indigenous pickers are not treated with respect at Sakuma Brothers Farm. This violates their human dignity and violates state anti-harassment and anti-hostility laws. Workers should be made whole, including but not limited to, the cease and desist of disrespectful and racist language such as “oaxaquita,” “indio,” “estupido,” and the use of stereotypes around inherent “laziness,” “drunkenness,” or “dirtiness” of Triqui and Mixteco farmworkers by Sakuma Brothers Farm executives, administrators, crop management, crew bosses, checkers and co-workers via receiving mandatory sensitivity and undoing racism training, and dismissal following failure to comply.
Sakuma Brothers Farms has applied for H2A workers for the blueberry harvest in August. Pickers want to know why the farm had not applied for H2A workers for the strawberry harvest if there was a labor shortage. The pickers claim that there is no labor shortage and that it is unfair that guestworkers are getting paid $12.00 per hour, while they are earning a maximum of $9.19.
Please Donate to the Sakuma Farm Workers!
You might have read in the Skagit Valley Herald about the Farm Workers’ dispute with Sakuma Farms. Farmworkers stopped work for six days and they went without wages for that period of time. The Farmworkers are back at work now but there will be another 2 weeks before they receive their paychecks.
Most workers are getting paid less than minimum wage right now and are struggling just to feed their families.
At this time Community to Community (Bellingham-based community group that supports the farmworkers) are asking for contributions of food, sundries and disposable diapers (size 2, 3, or 4). Gift cards to purchase food at Costco or local grocers are much appreciated as well as gift cards for gas or contributions to the strike fund.
Durable goods can be delivered directly to Labor Camp 2 at 1302 A Benson Road, Bow, WA 98232. Call Community to Community first to make sure someone can receive the donation: 360-756-2478.
(Get onto WA-11 / Chuckanut Dr from I-5 Freeway (Go N), Turn West onto Allen West Rd/Sam Bell Rd [Allen West is between Cook Rd and Field Rd], Continue to follow Allen West Rd, Turn left onto B A Benson Rd, Look for camp, turn into driveway, cross a bridge, verge to the right, look for the only community area that has a shelter)
Or call C2C at (360)756-2478 to arrange delivery of in-kind donations.
To contribute to the strike fund, access http://foodjustice.org click on the “donate” button to the right of the screen or send a check written out to Community to Community Development labeled “Strike Fund” to 203 W. Holly Street, Ste. 317, Bellingham, WA 98225.
The Skagit County Democrats will be a drop off location for donations. The office is open Tues, Wed, Thurs, and Fri from 1 to 5 pm. 300 A First Street, Mount Vernon, WA 98273,
(360) 336-1555 firstname.lastname@example.org www.skagitdemocrats.org